Doctor has safety reminders for parents as kids head back to school

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 7:29 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Students in our hometowns are officially back to school, but that also means kids can get distracted, which can lead to more pedestrian or bicycle injuries.

A pediatric surgeon who is also a pediatric trauma expert with Carilion Children’s said as school starts back up for the year, they see many more pedestrian injuries as the kids are walking to school or waiting for their buses.

In fact, according to Safe Kids Southwest Virginia, more than 15,000 child pedestrians are injured enough to require medical attention every year.

Doctors said the biggest reason is distraction for either walking or the people driving.

They suggest making sure kids are at least three giant steps back from the curb when waiting for the bus and talking to your kids about paying attention.

“Part of being a child is to be imaginative and distractible, so I think it’s important to just kind of use that time in getting prepared to get back to school to talk about coming and going when you’re getting towards the bus, following the rules, staying in line, lining up, being aware of where the cars are in the parking lot. Probably one of the biggest things for older kids is just using their cell phones and making sure that they don’t have something like a cell phone in their hand distracting them as they’re coming and going,” said Dr. Kathryn Bass.

Bass also said it’s equally important for drivers to pay attention, especially since injuries most often occur when kids are late for the bus and are running to get on or off it.

She said most of the of the trauma cases they see in children are head injuries. Cuts or broken bones can heal, but others, like head injuries, can have lasting effects.

Bass also added the best way to prevent that, especially when you child is on a bike or scooter, is wearing a properly fitted helmet.

“The most important tip for that is to be a role model, to basically play with your kids and when you’re playing with your kids, demonstrate the appropriate safety gear. Always have your helmet on just becomes part of the normal part of bike riding,” said Bass.

She said a well-fitted helmet can mitigate about eighty percent of the energy that comes at a person’s head, so it’s really an effect way to prevent injury.